Our Facebook Portal is our most used device right now while we’re in isolation. This Facebook Portal review shares how we use it, the games and activities my parents do over it with my kids, and a discount code to get $50 off!
A Facebook Portal review
I’ve been sharing a lot lately on Instagram stories about our Facebook Portal. Lots of you have asked about it, so I wanted to do a quick Facebook Portal review to show you how we use it and why it’s a great thing to have in your home during quarantine and beyond.
What is the Facebook Portal?
If you’re not familiar with the Facebook Portal, don’t worry — I wasn’t about three months ago until my parents bought us one for Christmas.
- It’s a smart display device that Facebook developed in 2018. It comes in a few sizes, but ours is about the size of a standard iPad and stands upright on our counter. (Ours is an older version, but this is the newest version HERE).
- It has a large screen that allows you to video chat with anyone through your Facebook or WhatsApp accounts.
- The biggest feature of the Facebook Portal is that it has a “Smart Camera” that tracks your movements and zooms in and out depending on where you’re standing in the screen. So you can walk around the room and it will follow you as you move and speak, or zoom out if multiple people are in the screen.
Other features we love on the Facebook Portal:
- Of course VIDEO CHAT is the thing we use it for the most.
- BROWSER! I love that it has a built in browser so I can use it for recipes in the kitchen as I cook.
- STORY TIME. My kids love this feature. It has a whole library of fun interactive books that put you in place of some of the characters. You can also do this feature over video chat so Grandma can read a story to the grandkids over video chat in a fun and interactive way.
- ALEXA. I love that the Portal has an Alexa built in so we can ask her questions, have her set a timer, get news updates, and more.
- MUSIC AND PODCASTS. We listen to podcasts during lunch over the Portal, and play music constantly. My boys love that it displays the lyrics so they can sing along!
We host a family church meeting on the Portal every Sunday
Since all the churches are closed right now, we have been doing a family church meeting each Sunday with my parents and siblings via the Facebook Portal.
I’m not sure how many people you can have on one call at a time, but we’ve had as many as seven different people call in with no issues at all.
It’s easy to mute our family so everyone can hear, and also you can view everyone on “grid view” or highlight the current family speaking so they’re the largest in view.
This has been an incredible way to connect with our family and host a meeting each week.
If you want to know more about how we set up our family church meeting, I have a saved highlight bubble on my Instagram profile called “Virtual Church.”
Fun games to play virtually on the Facebook Portal
My mom had the idea to play a game with the kids via the Facebook Portal, and now we’ve been coming up with lots of fun games to play over video chat.
These are some fun games you can play via video chat:
- BINGO. My mom has the game at her house with a cage and everything, so she just sent pictures of a few BINGO cards, we printed them out, and they play over the video chat.
- TABOO. This is my dad’s favorite one to play with the boys right now. On his turn, he tries to get the boys to guess the word on the card. On their turn, he holds the card up to the camera and they try to get him to guess it.
- HOUSE OF FIRE. This is a fun game I learned in high school and only involves a few dice, a piece of paper, and a pencil. I have the instructions saved in an Instagram highlight bubble called “House of Fire.“
- YAHTZEE. You don’t even need to own this game to play this together. Just round up a few dice and print a score sheet off of the internet. Just google “Yahtzee score sheet” and you’ll find a ton of printable options.
- CHARADES. We’ve downloaded a few charades apps over the last few years, and they’re our favorite to play in line at Disneyland or while we wait for a meal at a restaurant. They’re the kind where you place the phone on your forehead and everyone tries to get you to guess the word on the screen. It’s a great one to play virtually! Just download the same app (our favorites are “Heads Up! Kids” and “Charades! Kids“) and then quiz each other. Or you could get a card game version like this.
If you can think of any other fun games you could play virtually, leave a comment!
My mom reads to my boys everyday over the portal
My mom read aloud to my siblings and me every day my whole life, and just the other day she offered to start reading to my boys.
At 5pm every night while I’m making dinner, the boys bring the Portal up to the playroom and they draw or build with LEGOs while she reads aloud to them from her kitchen table.
She’s currently reading Eragon, a fun fantasy series about dragons, and my boys look forward to this time every single night now!
If you’re looking for a way to get your parents to connect with your kids right now (or vice versa), this is a great suggestion. Pick a good novel and everyone will enjoy themselves.
Facebook Portals are buy one, get one $50 off.
Of course all of these things are available through other devices, but if you’re interested in getting a Facebook Portal, they have a deal where you buy one and get a second one $50 off. So you could grab one for you and one for your parents!
(There’s no charge to have them ship to two separate places).
Check them out RIGHT HERE.
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photos by Aubrey Stock